Central AfricaEast AfricaEntrepreneurshipMarketingNorth AfricaSouth Africa

Trademarks

Establishing a strong brand is pivotal to business success. Protecting that brand is equally important. Yet many small businesses overlook an important first step in securing their brand: trademarks.

What Can Be Trademarked?
A trademark is any unique word, symbol, name or device used to identify and distinguish the goods of one seller from the goods of another--think Nike's swoosh, for example. A trademark allows the seller to protect what's trademarked from use and/or misuse by competitors while building brand loyalty among repeat customers. Trademarks also help prevent confusion or manipulation of consumers, who come to associate distinct attributes--in particular, quality--with a distinct brand.

From a branding perspective, the following are assets that can be protected: logos, names, tag lines and packaging. However, these assets can only be trademarked if they meet certain qualifications. A word or phrase that's commonly used or already connected with another product or service in the same industry cannot be trademarked. For example, a generic term like "search engine" can't be trademarked, but a unique name, like Google, can be. However, if your name is generic but used in an industry not typically related to the meaning of the term, you may be able to trademark it. A good example would be Apple Computer.

Leave a Reply